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Bad Bosses Do Make Your Blood Boil

Study links employee blood pressure hikes to unreasonable overseers

(HealthDay is the new name for HealthScoutNews.)

THURSDAY, June 26, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Got high blood pressure? You could blame it on your boss.

A new British study contends that working for a boss who's considered unreasonable and unfair can make an employee's blood pressure rise. That, in turn, increases the employee's risk of heart attack and stroke.

Researchers surveyed and monitored the blood pressure of 28 female health-care assistants, 18 to 45 years of age, with one group working for fair bosses and the other working for unfair bosses. The workers were followed for three days, with readings taken every 30 minutes for a 12-hour period each day.

Those in the "unfair" group registered an increase of 15 mm Hg in systolic and 7 mm Hg in diastolic blood pressure. An increase of 10 mm Hg in systolic and 5 mm Hg in diastolic blood pressure has been associated with a 16 percent increased risk of coronary heart disease and a 38 percent increased risk of stroke, according to the study.

On the other hand, those working for a good boss -- one deemed reasonable and fair -- registered a slight decrease in blood pressure.

This shows that a workplace "characterized by fairness, empowerment and consideration is likely to provide one inexpensive strategy for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disorders," the researchers write in a news release.

Their findings appear in the current issue of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about lowering your blood pressure.

SOURCE: BMJ Publishing Group, news release, June 24, 2003
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